Retirement on Waiheke - Customkit Buildings | ArchiPro

Retirement on Waiheke

THE GUARDIAN UK made the following observation about Waiheke Island. Beautiful, blissed-out, bohemian: this 20km-long island a short ferry ride from Auckland lures artists, wine-lovers, foodies and free spirits. 

In other words, a lifestyle mecca where the natural and aesthetics are part of the island way. 

Just the sort of place cabinet maker Matt Stafford might be attracted to. 

“I was, to be honest, a somewhat irregular visitor to the island but I always enjoyed the time spent. As time went by it started to appeal to me as a possible place to retire. The idea grew into reality and I made the move to the island. I really enjoyed having the freedom, and opportunity, to work on my own home. As a place to live and as a place where I can do some part-time cabinet making for others.” 

Prior to starting the project, Matt had a number of must-haves that needed to be built into the project. 

He required a warm, comfortable, low maintenance house. 

Given his own handy skills, he was looking for a kitset-built house that would allow him to do much of the finishing work himself. 

In searching for solutions, he came across Customkit. The flexibility to participate in the build appealed to him. 


 Immense satisfaction 

“It was a very satisfying experience for me to work alongside a team of competent tradespeople. It was very good of the builder to allow me on site to work on the tasks that I wished to carry out.” 

The ‘build’ was twofold – a house and a stand-alone garage, which was completed first to be used for storage, and a workshop where Matt fabricated doors, the kitchen and the staircase. 

Being on an island produced some extra challenges in the building process. 

“One was the extra cost in getting material shipped,” says Matt. “Because it was a kitset house, there were potential delays caused by missing or delayed components. Fortunately, Customkit was always efficient in providing building materials as needed. Throughout the build, their communication was first class.” 

No disappointments and no requirement for after-build maintenance or reparation were the perfect, and positive, final touches to the project, says Matt. 

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and have been totally satisfied with my input and involvement.” 

He has some wise words of advice for others looking to create a lifestyle base and a home to be proud of. 

“Regardless of the comments of friends and others, be aware that your experience will be unique and your own to deal with. Choose your building practitioner carefully using references and recommendations. Moreover, expect what may seem to be the unreasonable delays which may occur. 

“Be prepared for the overly cautious scrutiny which comes with the risk-averse council. With patience, you will be rewarded with your dream home.” 

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